Nic Weishar isn’t a stats guy, but he knows his defensive numbers pretty well.
“Sophomore year, I played [defense] in the playoffs and had an interception,” the Marist senior said.
That was it until last Friday, when Weishar had two more — returning one for a touchdown — against East Suburban Catholic Conference rival Benet. Throw in his eight catches for 90 yards and another score, and you have a pretty impressive night for the Sun-Times Athlete of the Week.
Maybe the most impressive thing about Weishar’s defensive effort is it came against one of the state’s premier quarterbacks. Benet junior Jack Beneventi already has scholarship offers from Notre Dame, Louisville, Illinois and Iowa, among others.
But Weishar, who has made more than his share of big plays on offense, showed the same capability in a rare extended appearance on the other side of the ball.
“Beginning of the year, we were thinking about playing a lot more of it,” he said. “[Against] St. Rita [in Week 1] I played pretty much the whole game at outside linebacker.”
But the plan was never for the 6-5, 230-pounder to be a full-time, two-way starter, according to Marist coach Pat Dunne.
“It’s a lot more situational,” Dunne said. “He is a kid who will do whatever’s good for the team.”
And it’s clearly good to have Weishar on defense — along with fellow standout receiver Flynn Nagel, who’s seeing time at safety.
Weishar doesn’t think it’s a coincidence that he and Nagel been able to have success at picking off passes as well as catching them.
“Being a receiver, I am kind of able to figure out [opponents’] routes,” he said.
Weishar, a Notre Dame recruit who is ranked 17th nationally among senior tight ends by Rivals.com, is having another big season on offense with 62 catches for 761 yards and eight touchdowns. He’s just one of several playmakers for the RedHawks (5-3, 4-2 ESCC), who have another D-I receiving prospect in Nagel (66 catches, 1,088 yards, 15 touchdowns), a talented running back in Peter Andreotti (bound for Purdue as a wrestler) and quarterback in Jack Donegan who has thrown for almost 2,300 yards and 27 touchdowns.
“I don’t know how a defense can game-plan against us,” Weishar said. “They try to stop the pass, Peter can gash them on the run.”
And helping keep Marist firing on all cylinders offensively have been the guys up front: tackles Virgil Robertson (6-5, 310) and Jack Maida (6-2, 265), guards Mitch Schleyer (6-3, 245) and Jack McHugh (6-1, 250) and center Jack Hynes (5-9, 210).
“Our offensive line, I don’t think has gotten too much credit,” Weishar said.
But all those contributions have been needed to keep the RedHawks near the top of the stacked ESCC, which could qualify seven teams for the IHSA playoffs.
“Our conference is just crazy,” Weishar said.
But after losing two of their previous three games, the RedHawks seemed to get their mojo back against Benet, opening a 42-7 halftime lead en route to a dominant win.
“I think it is the right time to start peaking,” Weishar said. “Best game we’ve played all year.”
And thanks in no small part to the best defensive game he’s played, ever.